Eleven weeks of exhilarating college football have passed, and the number of playoff viable teams has been whittled down dramatically.
Of all Division I college football teams in America, only seven have a legitimate shot at the playoff. Here are those teams, ranked by probability of making it to the playoff.
Alabama has the best shot of making the College Football Playoff, and the race is not even very close. The Crimson Tide’s final two home games are against Mercer and No. 6 Auburn. This Saturday’s game against the Mercer Bears will be a guaranteed bloodbath. Thus, Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide will enter their final regular season game against Auburn 11-0 with victories against some very impressive opponents. If the Tide lost to No. 6 Auburn, they would be spared from the SEC title game and would still almost certainly make the playoff. If they won, and then lost to Georgia in the title game, they would still likely make the playoff. Barring a historic loss to Mercer, expect to see the Crimson Tide in the playoff.
The University of Miami just obliterated an exceptional Notre Dame football team. Their final two games of the season are against mediocre Virginia and Pittsburgh teams. Assuming that they win these games, they will go to the ACC Championship and face off against Clemson. If they win that game, they are guaranteed a spot in the playoff. If they lose that game, they are a very impressive one-loss team with a legitimate case for a playoff bid.
Oklahoma just defeated TCU fairly easily to prove that they are the class of the Big 12. Now Heisman frontrunner Baker Mayfield and the Sooners need to take care of Kansas and West Virginia, the teams sporting the worst two defenses in the Big 12, in order to make it to the Big 12 Championship game. If they win against the Jayhawks and the Mountaineers and then win the championship game against either Iowa State or TCU, they will go to the playoff. If they lose any of these games, they have eliminated their shot at the playoffs.
Clemson’s season would be perfect, were it not for a Week 7 loss to a pesky Syracuse team. This is a team that controls its own playoff destiny.
The reigning college football champions must beat Citadel and South Carolina to finish out the regular season undefeated, before taking on the No. 3 Miami Hurricanes in the ACC Championship if they want to make the College Football playoff.
The Badgers are 10-0 and the Big 10’s last shot at they playoff. In order to go, they need to beat No. 19 Michigan on Saturday, Minnesota a week later and then Ohio State in the Big 10 Championship. Win these three games and they’re in the playoff. Lose any one of these games and they have almost certainly written themselves out of the contest.
The Bulldogs looked like the class of college football before making a trip to Alabama to face Auburn in Jordan Hare Stadium. After a brutal loss to the Tigers, Georgia is 9-1. For a playoff bid they must finish out the season with wins against Kentucky and Georgia Tech, and then win the SEC Championship Game against Alabama or Auburn. Otherwise, the Bulldogs will be left out of the playoff.
The Auburn Tigers are the only team on this list with two losses. However, after dismantling Georgia this past weekend, if they can beat Louisiana Monroe and then Alabama to finish the regular season undefeated, they would face Georgia again in the SEC Championship game. If they managed to win that game, and enough other playoff contenders lost, Auburn could punch its ticket to the playoff. The scenario is improbable but not impossible.